Dear Mrs. Bluth,
While taking a day off from work two weeks ago, I decided to go into the city and treat myself to just wandering around. I didn’t tell anyone because it was a very sporadic decision, one that I hoped would lift my spirits which had been down lately. I also planned to surprise my husband and take him to lunch to the same restaurant where he had proposed twenty-one years ago. I hoped to possibly re-inject the special feelings we had for one another as they seemed to have disappeared over the years. The city takes on a festive feel this time of year and even though it is of a secular nature I hoped the lights and the lighthearted good cheer that abounds would work some magic for us.
I need to make you aware that our marriage has been sorely tested in the past. After our last child was born, my husband seemed to become distant. Many nights he would come home late from work and even though I would sit with him while he ate supper, the conversation was forced and stilted on his part. He appeared to be totally disinterested in what the kids were up to in school, what I shared with him about the baby or about family and friends.
A good friend in whom I confided, took me aside one day and said that someone had seen my husband sitting in the park with a young woman and that they seemed more than business acquaintances, if you understand my drift. Of course, I chose not to believe this, but gave in to my curiosity and looked through his briefcase and records when he went out to shul one Sunday morning. I found a small gift box and note addressed to “Gilda,” and a very personal short note, dated two months back, wherein Gilda talked about the “wonderful time spent together.” My heart, not to mention my trust, was completely shattered. I confronted him upon his return and he admitted that he was emotionally involved with Gilda for over five months, but swore he would end it now that I found out. He was terribly remorseful, wailed and begged for my forgiveness and explained that he felt neglected and lonely since the birth of the baby. I choose to believe him and give him a second chance. The bracelet he was going to give Gilda, he gave to me and I have worn it every day as a reminder to him that there would never be a second chance.
After a lovely morning traipsing through stores and taking in the sights, I took a cab to his office and asked the receptionist for his cubical. She said he was out to lunch and if I would like to wait. All of a sudden, warning bells went off in my head and I explained that I was a business account from the past with a short window in which to see him, could she please provide me with the place he was having lunch just so I could say a quick hello. She hesitated for a moment, but gave me the address. I took a cab to the restaurant, and lo and behold, it was a bar that served non-kosher food. My heart pounding, I put on my sunglasses and went in, hoping that this was the wrong place. At a table near the back, there he sat with “Gilda.” There are no words to describe what went through me, anger, bitterness, betrayal and hate all rolled together would not do justice. I was so blinded by rage that I could have stabbed him with the fork he was holding. Instead, I walked over to their table, took off the bracelet and threw it at her. I didn’t say a word – none was necessary judging by the startled look on her face and the bewildered and terrified look on his. As I turned to leave I told him not to come home and to her I said, “He’s all yours.” I don’t remember the rest of that day.
His rav called and begged for us to have a sit-down for the sake of the children, to try to work it out. I hung up the phone after telling the tav the only sit-down I will come to is the one in beis din. Over the last two weeks I have been approached by members of his family, his friends from shul and shiur (that is absolutely hysterical when you think about it) and even members of my own family wondering what has gotten into me, as I haven’t told anyone why I want out.
And that’s why I am writing to you. Should I tell those who are so concerned with saving my wonderful marriage to this “amazing” man, for the sake of the children? Should I break the hearts of those who tell me I am responsible to fix what is wrong?
No need to say it twice, where trust is dead there are no second chances – not for the sake of your station, your children or your family. You have been more than benevolent, extending to your philandering, lying, deceiving husband a second chance the first time you caught him transgressing. Your catching him again means that he has been lying to you this whole time. The one thing I can say that might have helped after his being caught the first time, is if you had both gone for couples counseling in an effort to change his bad behavior and to give you the tools to deal with the loss of trust and the guilt and low self-esteem that accompanies such a crisis. But that’s water under the bridge now.
Your sarcasm over his shul and shiur persona was not lost on me or on any of our readers. Many people, men and women alike, who delve into the dangerous temptations of promiscuity often hide behind different masks which allows them to justify their own actions as well as to conceal them from the public. I have seen this many times before and the saddest part is that these people are fine, upstanding and respected members of a frum community, the very last people you would ever associate with such actions. So, I am not surprised, only sad and broken-hearted right along with you.
Are you responsible? For what? A marriage takes two people – it is not a woman’s job alone to keep things together and no one, no rav, family member or friend has the right to place the burden of guilt for a marriage gone bad on a woman’s shoulders, or have an expectation that it is her job to keep him on the straight and narrow. It is the responsibility of both spouses to make the marriage whole and healthy, full of love, respect and trust for each other!
Get yourself a good lawyer, and let people who have involved themselves, uninvited, and are pushing you to reconsider staying in the marriage, know that something happened that made that impossible and that nothing more need be said –
unless you want everyone to know the blow-by-blow events that led to your decision to end it. I would opt for the first option. Should you, however, have a change of heart anywhere along the way and decide to try again, get yourself to a marriage counselor post haste and learn how and why this happened. I will be glad to offer anything from resources to support whatever path you choose.